Van Gogh Pastel Sunflowers

Van Gogh Pastel FlowerThis is a tribute to Van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting.
1. Instruct the students to draw a line for the table, and then the outline of a jar above it. Show them the jar in the original painting so they can add a curved middle line for dimension, and sign their name, in the style of Van Gogh.
2. Ask them to draw a series of circles for flowers, some large, some small, maybe some even going off the page. Add small petals around the flowers.
3. Connect the flowers to the jar by drawing stems, and add leaves.
4. Trace all the pencil lines with a medium size black marker.
5. Have the students fill in the shapes with good oil pastels. Show them that if they color everything very solidly, their picture will look much like an oil painting.

11 Responses

  1. Expat Mom

    Very good idea! I just introduced my sons to VanGogh and my 4 year old’s first reaction was, “I want to do that with my crayons!” So we did, but I want to take it a bit further if he’s interested.

  2. Nadene

    Your ideas are wonderfully liberating! I certainly will try this soon … I just can’t wait!

  3. Julie

    This is beautiful and I love this idea. Thank you! I am gathering supplies and will do this with my 5 year old in a few minutes! :D


    we did this activity in my grade 2 and grade 6 class yesterday! their output turned great! you can see some of their works in my blog

    more power to you!

  5. Joanne

    Your blog has always been a great resource for me – but I’ve never taken the time to stop and tell you thank you! I just finished this project with a mixed-age elementary group – I’d love for you to check out the results at The kids really enjoyed the project, and they turned out beautifully! Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!

  6. Kathy Barbro

    Hi Kelly Scott,
    I can imagine your frustration in trying to have some really good art come from your pre-chosen theme. I’m not sure that I have any great solutions, other than maybe use some really bright color to liven up your student’s art. My opinion is that almost anything looks good when colored carefully with oil pastels. And sometimes layering colors actually adds a cool kind of interest to pieces. That’s all I can offer off the top of my head and I hope that helps in some way.

  7. Oh how beautiful! I love this project. Thanks for sharing this, I’ll be linking.

  8. Kelly Scott

    Can I just say what an amazing art teacher you are. This site is so inspiring for all, especially art teachers. You have so many incredible ideas, the projects that I have incorporated into my art curriculum are the projects that all of the teachers rave about! I just ordered alot of art prints that will go with some of your art lessons that I’m dying to try! Now for my question (you can delete my comment if it takes too much space:)I need your advice. We are in the process of doing an “art by me” fundraiser. The classroom teachers chose the themes and all grade levels are turning our great except Kindergarten. The theme is “we are unique” great theme but we ended up doing self-portraits showing them doing something that makes them unique. For example one drew herself in ballet class. We out lined them w/ sharpie colored w/ crayon and did a watercolor background. I’m disappointed in the outcome. I guess what I don’t love is how the people look. We have 1 maybe 2 more classes that they can work on them. What can I have them do to them add to make them more interesting works? How can I save their hardwork. What would you do?

  9. Andi

    Kathy I recently discovered your blog.. not sure how…I love it, congratulations, you are inspiring.
    Andrea, Melbourne Australia

  10. Sue

    Hi Kathy,
    I planted sunflowers with my class last week. I will use this idea as part of my art program. Today we made a pasta collage which we will spray paint. I was looking at the post below this one just now, thinking that it would be a great task to follow up with. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. I am sooooo impressed right now!
    I LOVE your blog and will link to it from mine. How wonderful of you to share all these amazing ideas with the world. Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    In PEACE
    Jennifer aka Montessori Mama

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